Ed Pickens Announces Retirement After 46 Years Of Catering

  • 1/31/2018 10:51:56 AM
  • Sartaj Singh
  • Local News

MANSFIELD, OH - After serving many local customers in and around Richland County, Ed Pickens is calling it a career.

Ed Pickens announced his last day will be March 31st, 2018, effectively ending his 46 years in the catering industry.  Ed stated that after talking with family, it was just about time to retire. 

"After 46 years, my niece said that I need to not do this anymore."  Ed Pickens, Owner of Ed Pickens Cafe on Main, said. "I will miss it because I love doing what I do... I love making people happy."

One of Ed's last catering events was for his daughter's wedding two weeks ago.

"My staff did it, I didn't work. They insisted that I do nothing, and I did nothing." Ed Pickens said. 

While it is unknown what the fate of Ed Pickens Cafe on Main will be, there has been interested to continue to location as a catering service or opening up a restaurant. 

"We are trying to find another operator for it." Ed Pickens said. "We currently have three or four people that are looking at the operation."

When asked about what would be the first thing he does once he is retired, Ed said he will be taking on a project that he has put off for 42 years.

"When you go inside our front door, there a closet door that leads to the attic steps, and this wall was painted in 1950s cactus green... I told my wife 'We got to get that thing painted.'... well, It still needs painted!" Ed Pickens said.

Ed was working a landscaping job in 1972 when his brother, who was working full-time at Shakey's Pizza on 4th Street, asked Ed to work part-time at the same location. After impressing the manager, Ed was offered the job of Assistant Manager. 

In 1977, Ed and his brother bought a restaurant in Ashland. In 1984, Ed returned to Mansfield to start a barbeque restaurant. He then started his first catering business in Columbus years later. 

After deciding he did not want to make the full move to Columbus, Ed brought his catering business to the Mansfield Area in 1992 and opened the Park Avenue Express Cafe. 

In order to expand their operation, the team bought the kitchen in the Barrington One building in 2001. In 2008, the team moved into its now best-known location at 28 North Main Street. 

Since starting the business, Ed and his wife have catered many different events, from local parties to presidential banquets. Throughout all his time in the industry, Ed says he was lucky to be able to do what he does.

"We've done stuff that most people are not going to get to do." Ed Pickens said. "Because of what we have done in this industry it has exposed us to famous people, good events, and a lot of friends."

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